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Miracle on the Underground

We've had the Olympics saving the economy, putting people back to work, being saved by the sponsors. Now it's the turn of Transport for London to describe the miracle on the Underground!

Mark Evers, TfL's director of Games transport, enthused over how passengers had used different means of transport and had even got off at different stations. He cited the case of a hypothetical traveller who might have got off one stop earlier at Victoria rather than St James's Park and then walked to work. How or why such an heroic act would have made any meaningful difference was not explained.

The report in the Standard does not make any mention of Mr Evers' part in TfL's earlier apocalyptic warnings of transport chaos and its instructions to Londoners and commuters not to use the Tube, to walk or cycle to work, even to stay at home. No mention either of the desperate pleas of businesses for TfL to lay off the 'don't travel' advice after the first week of disastrous sales. No, just another Olympic miracle unfolding on the highways and byways of the greatest city in the world!

But like so many before him Mr Evers did not stop there. He declared that credit for these remarkable events lay, partly, in the £7.2 billion investment in transport and infrastructure. Of course there has been investment in transport in the building of the new Canning Town DLR line and the Overground. But neither of these owes anything to the Olympics and obviously had no bearing on the fact that lots of people simply avoided travelling into London during the Games.

And what of the legacy? Apparently we are likely to see the same bright magenta signs again at future events. And the temporary ramps installed for the Olympics at sixteen Tube stations to facilitate disabled access are being removed! Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson was forthright "It would be fantastic if they could stay on."

But that, it seems, really would require a miracle just as it would for disabled people to be able to get onto the Tube as and where they needed to.


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